I would much prefer to talk about the kindness of Christians, about those serving in soup kitchens at this very moment, about those helping neighbors, visiting people in retirement homes, going on mission trips, or perhaps about the Christian values that helped shape this country, that built the culture so many of us now take for granted.
Let’s just take childhood for example, the very concept of childhood is actually a Christian invention, as is education for kids. In the absence of those values, children work in factories and brothels, they dig through garbage dumps for sustenance, they beg on the streets, they fight in wars. Believe it or not, life among the humans in the absence of Christian values is not so good if you are one of the smaller, weaker humans, also known as prey.
So, there is no doubt in my mind that the majority of those who follow Christ do good things in the world, that Christianity itself has done amazing things and been a force for positive change. We used to crucify and torture people for goodness sakes, as a matter of routine. We would execute our own family members to claim a throne, even poison our own children to establish our position in the social order. That is the truth of human nature, that is what lurks in our hearts, that is who and what we are in the absence of our higher selves. Christ calls us to our higher selves.
I would much prefer to speak of these things and they are all true, but one does not honor the Truth by pretending that the bad things are not real too, that Christians are all perfect, that all those professing to be Christians are really following Christ. Over and over again the bible tells me “none are worthy, not one.”
So that means that there are pedophiles sitting in our churches, adulterers, women who have had abortions, people who struggle with homosexuality, people who abuse wives and children. Sin is a real thing in the world, it is what it is, and it doesn’t just magically disappear when someone sits in a church or calls them self an “evangelical.” There is a process of justification, sanctification, cleansing that comes from the blood of the Lamb, a better way, The Way, His way, but not everyone is there yet, and not everyone even goes there.
All that sin sitting in our pews doesn’t concern me nearly as much as those who believe they don’t have any sin, as those who believe that Christianity is like a corporate brand that must be protected and defended, an exclusive club for the worthy only. Cultural Christianity, pretty much a blight affecting the Western world. Few align themselves with Christianity as status, as social acceptance, in countries where you are more likely to be persecuted for faith rather than praised for it.
Faith in the midst of persecution is simply going to separate the wheat from the tares much better than faith in the Western world is. Conversely, faith is growing in countries where it is authentic and genuine, and declining in our own. Ours is actually full of hypocrisy, let us not deny this, but face it, confront it, change it! So many of us pray desperate prayers for revival, “Lord, please save all those sinners out there,” never thinking it might be us who are the sinners, it might just be us where the revival must start.
I’ve said it a million times, but those who pick up the blame also pick up the power. So confronting the truth of faith, of Western Christianity, is not about self flagellation, it is about taking personal responsibility and leading.
There are people who are abused by those professing Christ’s name, that is a real thing in the world. We do actual harm to genuine victims when we deny this truth, this reality, when we act as of the very label “evangelical” somehow means we are the good guys and those on the outside looking in are the barbarians. No, sometimes we are the barbarians. How we walk with the broken is far more important then how we rub elbows with our “brand.”
part one is here